With the White House race barreling toward the finish, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were staying out of the spotlight Monday, underscoring the intense focus each campaign is placing on the second presidential debate.

Obama’s campaign, seeking to rebound from a dismal first debate, promised a more energetic president would take the stage Tuesday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Romney’s team aimed to build on a commanding opening debate that gave the Republican new life in a White House race that had once appeared to be slipping away from him.

When the two candidates step back into the public eye at the debate, there will be exactly three weeks left until Election Day. But early voting is already underway in dozens of states, including some battlegrounds, giving the candidates little time to recover from any slipups.

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